More Power To Them

See, just like I told you.
Toni and the old man have it out over the flag
Often times in this country we forget what this place is all about. The freedom to do what ever the hell we want when we want. Just kidding, but we do have the right to freedom of speech, the right to have our own opinions on topics, and the right to express those ideas to other people (assuming you do it legally.)

Toni Smith is a basketball player who doesn't quite remove her proverbial hat and place her right hand over her heart during the National anthem. In fact the Manhattanville College player has raised much controversy as of late by turning her back to the flag during the afore mentioned song before their games. People have been chastising her for her lack of patriotism but you know what I think, I think more power to her. I don't think she does it because she hates America, because for one there aren't that many countries in the world where you could do this and walk away with only a few dirty looks. More importantly I think its refreshing to see someone who doesn't think everything the U.S. does or has done is good just because we're the "good guys." During one of her "protests" a Vietnam Vet rushed her with an American flag, screaming at her for this and that. Toni placed her hands on her hips and held her ground. What the man, who was then thrown out for running onto the court, failed to recognize is that it was ideals or rights like the one allowing her to turn her back on the flag that he and his fellow soldiers were fighting to export, so other people in the world could speak ill of their government without persecution.  I'd argue there is more American in her than in the piece of fabric she refuses to acknowledge.

I think though there is a drawback to all those rights though. Maybe drawback is a strong word, lets just say there's a negative side to the rights. The right to form groups based on hatred, for one. I was perusing yahoo and came across a humorous story involving our favorite ignorant hate-mongers. Apparently a splinter group of the KKK is lending their support to the Augusta National Golf Club and their pursuit to keep it an all male club. I think personally that it's the Country Club's right to allow who they want as members, it's a private club. Furthermore I think if there was an all women's Country Club there wouldn't be any hoopla surrounding it and the only men that would make a stink about getting in would just be doing it as if to say "let's see how you like it." At any rate think what you will about the policy of having a men only club, but is there a kiss of death to a cause quite like getting support from the KKK? Now granted I don't feel very strongly about my feelings that they should be allowed to keep out anyone they want, but reading the KKK agreed with me almost made me change my mind right there. In fact...yeah...I think...there it is...How can an organization in this day and age not allow everyone of any race, creed, color, gender, sexual preference, wealth, or shoe size in who wants to be in? (For those of you wondering I didn't really change my mind...yet.)

Now you say what was the humorous part about this story, the kiss of death from the KKK splinter? Well yeah that's funny but what's really funny is that the Grand Wizard that plans to go to the Club to lend his support splintered off from the regular KKK and as best people who know the situation can tell he is the only member of his particular KKK sect.

BUT WAIT! That isn't even the funniest part yet. Scoring a perfect 110% on the unintentional comedy scale was his comment when asked whether he and his "group" plan to don their little ghost outfits. He replied, and I quote, "We'll probably be in either blue jeans or suits. We're tired of poor, white trash calling themselves the Ku Klux Klan and the negative image the Ku Klux Klan is getting." I don't even have a punch line to follow this up with, because frankly, while I consider myself to be mildly witty, I don't think I have the capacity to come up with a line funnier than that. I could try, but anyone reading this is probably still laughing and I would just ruin it for the two of you. Alright I can't resist. The negative image the KKK is getting? Are there lots of Ku Klux Klan wannabes out there? Is it a hard group to get into? Are there a lot of wealthy well educated black people in the KKK?

A lesser negative to our right to protest is the fact that sometimes they just get outright annoying. I mean really, MUST people protest or get up in arms about EVERY little stupid thing that happens? Don't get me wrong, I think some protests are a good thing and I love the previously discussed "silent protest" but it's gotten to the point were at any given time there are 3 protests somewhere on the UWEC campus. The latest were about the tuition increase that would follow state budget cuts. I've thought of writing an entire article as a counterpoint to these protests and protesters so now that I've conveniently found myself on the subject here it goes, to save time Ill just list my points rather than strain myself to make a coherent paragraph out of them.
  • The tuition increase isn't that much, and our tuition has been going up every semester anyway.
  • It isn't like the only cuts being made are to UWEC or the UW system for that matter
  • Do you have ANY idea how cheap UWEC is for one of the best educations in the area? You don't think so? Go to an unsubsidized private school for a year and rack up in one year more than what I'll rack up in 4 for the ONLY nationally accredited computer science degree in the state of Wisconsin.
  • I saw a member of the school board who said in reference to one of Gov. Doyle's speeches as saying that it was too bad that when Doyle talks about education he only talks about K-12 and not K-16 and up. That's because you're talking about apples and oranges. K-12 is a right, every child in America deserves the best education we can afford them. Anything past high school is a privilege that a lucky group of us get to reap the benefits of, but it shouldn't be considered a right.
  • The previous administration left more than a small financial legacy behind. The money to make up for it needs to come from somewhere and if not here than it would just come from somewhere else. Would you rather they get rid of programs that you use or how about do away with Title 9, the law requiring a girls sport for every respective boys sport, so we can stop spending money on sports that net the university $5 so that 20 people on campus who play the sport can be happy. And no I'm not sexist, just realistic, I don't think the university should pump money into a sport that doesn't at least do a decent job at earning back the money, and it just so happens that most girls sports have fewer people in attendance then the equivalent boys sport. There are boys sports that should be cut and there are girls sports like the girls basketball program that are a wonderful program and get many butts in the seats.  No you wouldn't like to see Title 9 gone either, and you'd bitch about that. Which brings me to this...
  • There are some real issues in the world right now, and it's getting to the point where if every little minor dumbass selfish "injustice" is protested it becomes a "Crying wolf" of sort. Protesting is everyone's right, and it can be a powerful tool, however, when it's overdone people turn a deaf ear to the demonstrators.
However this is America and as much as it annoys me if they want to demonstrate over spilled milk, more power to them.

-Jeremy Lindgren listened to the new Switchfoot album about 6 times throughout the writing of this article
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